Finding game sound effects can be time-consuming. Even if you own large CD or DVD based sound libraries it can take hours to locate and edit all the sounds you need for any given game. However, after over a decade and a half of making games I’ve finally noticed that there are some sound effects I use over and over when creating games. Even when I don’t ultimately use these sounds in the final game, I’ve found that they are very handy to have on hand to make a quick game demo. As someone who’s spent tens of thousands of dollars on game audio it’s been a more than a little shocking to realize that about $10 worth of sound effects consistently takes care of upwards of 40-50% of my game sound effect requirements. Here is a list of the top ten game sound effects that I think you’ll find yourself using over and over again:
This is a versatile sound effect which can be used for a game win sound, a sound effect for when a player gets a bonus, finishes a level and/or gets the correct answer to a question. This sound effect often seems to have the added bonus of being positive and affirming. I like to add sound effects at the very end of a project both because an appropriate sound effect might change depending on how a project goes and because when a client plays a game with the added dimension of sound it really feels more complete. But this sound effect almost adds to that sense of accomplishment. It’s like “Ta-da”…we’re done! or “Ta-da” we made something amazing! You can grab it for a buck via the link above.
This is the classic lose or incorrect sound effect. The combination of the fact that it’s classic and comical makes it fun and counters the fact that losing is a negative event. I like to at least demo a game with this sound effect because it keeps things playful and lightens the mood a bit during the typical deadline mayhem. You can nab this little gem by clicking on the link above.
This is a great sound effect for an object or screen appearing or being revealed. Sound is very effective in implementing the mood you’re going for. If you want to make your game feel a bit more magical, this is a great sound effect to employ. Click on the link above to get it for only one dollar!
A Jew’s Harp is always great fun! I actually own a Jewsaphone (google it for a laugh). This is a great sound effect for jumping, an incorrect answer or a comical hit. The comical nature of this sound effect also tends to make a game feel more fun and playful. Click on the link above get 3 boing sounds for the price of one!
When you need to lay down some smack, this is the sound you need. It’s hard to make hitting funny, but it’s good to use an effect like this one that has some subtle playfulness to it to…er…soften the blow. Note that I’m exercising serious restrain not doing a “it’s sure to be a hit” pun here. Click on the link above to grab it…it won’t be too much of a hit to your wallet.
It’s all about clicking on the Internet. The click sound makes the action feel more substantial and confirms to the player that they’ve successfully implemented the click. Check it out via the link above.
A woosh sound is surprisingly useful. Off the top of my head I’ve used this for the appearance and disappearance of characters, boxes, object, and buttons. I’ve used it for characters running, stopping, jumping, flipping, disappearing and reappearing. I have used this sound effect so much I’ve found it’s useful to have a lot of variations. I just counted. I have 22. Click on the link above to get 3 woosh sounds for only one dollar!
A typing effect is kind of funny because it serves to convey data entry but computers these days barely make any typing noise. It’s nevertheless a useful sound effect for many games. You don’t have to type anything to check it out, just click on the link above.
I don’t like this sound as much as the wa-wa-wa sound for wrong answers, but the comedic factor of this classic jarring sound effect is often useful for games. When you want to augment the funny factor when a character gets something wrong, this is the sound to grab. For a quiz game this sound is usually too negative and discouraging, but as a comic device this sound effect is golden.
Time is a big part of most games. In the last few years I’ve found clients like the simple addition of making this sound effect play when the player is about to run out of time. It’s a simple thing for a programmer to do and it’s a nice thoughtful touch that can often be a bonus that keeps them coming back for more or helps make up for being a day late.
These are the tried and true sound effects I find myself using over and over. I’ve found that having them on hand allows me to save time, money and even earn back the money I spent on these sound effects many times over. Hopefully they’ll bail you out as much they’ve bailed me out.